Surveying, and as a result, surveyors, have been around since the start of time, and it has been said that so has their methodology!
The theodolite and tape have been the backbone of a time-tested practice that has led to ground breaking advancements such as electronic distance measurement (EDM), global positioning system (GPS) and positional laser scanning. However, it was the introduction of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) that has allowed mine sites such as St Ives to take the next step towards truly turning survey data into metadata.
This paper will explain how the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was adapted to meet the requirements of a mine site supporting a major open pit operation, and how the open pit mining team adjusted their planning and production processes to maximise use of the extra data and information available to them.
The advantages of the system include point cloud surveys with corresponding large-scale up-to-date photography and computer generated high detail contouring of mined areas that are then incorporated into the mine plan. All the while, the use of the UAV must be tailored to each specific problem encountered and a solution then matched.
Steven, R, 2016. Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Surveying at St Ives Gold Mine, in Proceedings Ninth AusIMM Open Pit Operators’ Conference 2016, pp 170–184 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).